|Indian Military Portal|
The Indian Armed Forces is the primary military organization responsible for the territorial security and defence of India. The President of India serves as the supreme commander of the armed forces, which are subordinate and responsible to the Government of India headed by the Prime Minister of India. The armed forces are administered by the Ministry of Defence and are composed of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force. Auxiliary services include the Coast Guard, the Indian Paramilitary Forces and the Strategic Forces Command.
All service personnel are volunteers although the government is empowered to undertake conscription if considered necessary for India's defence. However, India has never had conscription, even during the Indo-Pakistani Wars and the Sino-Indian War. The armed forces draw many of its service personnel from communities maintaining a long-standing military tradition, retaining much of the organizational structure established by the British. However, the armed forces are an essential character of India's strategic importance, power and capabilities, which have increased after India became a declared nuclear weapons state.
The Indian Air Force (भारतीय वायु सेना : Bharatiya Vayu Sena) is the air-arm of the Armed Forces of India and has the prime responsibility of conducting aerial warfare and securing the Indian airspace. It was established on October 8, 1932 as the Indian Air Force. It was granted the prefix "Royal" in 1945 in recognition of its services during the Second World War. The prefix Royal was dropped after India became a Republic in 1950. It is the fourth largest air force in the world and plans to have a truly global combat reach. With its headquarters in New Delhi, the Indian Air Force has a strength of 1,70,000 personnel and 1130 combat aircraft (2006 figure).
The Indian Air Force has a strength of 1130 combat aircraft and presently operates with a total of 42 squadrons. Most of the IAF's fighter jets are of French, Soviet/Russian and British origin, with designs by the latter two countries being constructed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited under licence. The indigenously-built HAL Tejas (formerly Light Combat Aircraft) is expected to enter service by 2010, replacing the MiG-21s in IAF service.
The various types of combat aircraft in the IAF are listed below.